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Marathon swimmer Ollie Wilkinson completes Catalina Channel crossing

Cheltenham > Sport > Swimming

Author: Contributed, Posted: Friday, 18th August 2017, 13:50

Ollie Wilkinson Ollie Wilkinson

Ollie Wilkinson is a triple crown champion.

The marathon swimmer from Prestbury completed the last leg of the sport’s triple crown when he successfully swam the 20.2-mile Catalina Channel in the Pacific Ocean from Catalina Island to Los Angeles.

The other two legs of the triple crown are crossing the English Channel and swimming around Manhattan Island.

Wilkinson, who works as a vet in Prestbury and writes a regular Pet Care column for The Local Answer, said of his Catalina Channel swim: “I completed nine hours and 12 minutes of tough swimming. Conditions were fairly rough at times but I’m very happy to have finished and completed the triple crown.”

The 42-year-old completed the swim at night when the water is calmer in that part of the world. The most exciting part of his marathon effort came when a pod of dolphins swam near him in the last two kilometres of his crossing.

His triple crown achievement only took a cumulative total of 25 hours, two minutes, 11 seconds. His English Channel crossing took 11 hours, six minutes while his time of five hours, 44 minutes to circumnavigate Manhattan Island in 2011 remains a world record.

A spokesman for Catalina Channel Swimming Federation said: “CCSF congratulates Oliver Wilkinson, who not only completed a solo crossing of the Catalina Channel, but also rounded out the third tier of his triple crown.

“Oliver’s fantastic time of 9:12:09 reflects his status as a world record-holder, which he achieved when he swam around Manhattan Island in 2011 and broke a 16-year-old speed record.”

Wilkinson, meanwhile, is hoping to raise “a couple of thousand pounds” for charity following his Pacific swim.

His chosen cause is The Chamwell Centre, a Gloucestershire-based charity that has been set up to raise money to build a new state of the art centre for disabled children, which will include a hydrotherapy pool, at Milestone School in Longlevens.

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